Swedish furniture retailer Ikea has signed a multimillion dollar software contract with VerticalNet as part of its plan to set up a portal for negotiating and communicating with suppliers online, the companies said Tuesday. Ikea, which booked neary $10 billion in sales last year, plans to use the portal to negotiate contracts with manufacturers that supply the company with home furnishings it sells in 170 stores around the world.
Ikea expects the portal to facilitate communication related to store sales and manufacturing plans with hundreds of manufacturers and suppliers that don't use Electronic Data Interchange, a proprietary electronic data network. The portal will also feature an application for Ikea's suppliers, allowing them to order supplies online based on special terms and prices that Ikea negotiates using its buying power. Ikea expects to begin using the portal by October. VerticalNet, through its acquisition of software company Atlas Commerce last year, provides similar e-business portal software to Wal-Mart and Hewlett-Packard.